When You Pray

“Remember me,” prayed the thief on the cross. Prayer is legality. It is access to the threefold God. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus instructs the crowds with “when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,” and “when you pray, go into your room and shut the door,” and also “when you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases.” Prayer is not for the applause of an audience. Prayer is wrestling with a bear and a lion with only a flock of sheep for an audience. Likewise, it is prayer that kills giants. Prayer is a pathway to blessing, for heaven, remembering a prayer, moves. 

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Kevin Wallace: We're in the first month of the year. This is not only a time when we receive first fruit offering, but some time in November as I was praying about the first of the year I felt like God spoke this word to me in prayer. I kept saying, "God, what are you saying about 19? What are you saying to our church? What are you saying to us? What do you want me to say?" I felt like God spoke to me in prayer one day. He said, "I want you to tell them the blessing is in the basics." The blessing is in the basics.

Kevin Wallace: Now, when you say that, deep people get offended that you would retreat to such basic things, but you can't get much deeper than a foundation. How many would agree that the foundation is deep? We've got work going on at our house right now because of some issues in the foundation of a wall, and this retaining wall that we had built was 19 feet tall, and they had to dig out 19 feet of dirt. But when you got down to the bottom of that, you can't get no deeper than the foundation. The reason some people can't be blessed and walk in the blessing is not because they don't get a deep word. It's because they don't establish their life on a proper foundation.

Kevin Wallace: Before we go any deeper, let's just get to the foundation and make sure we know that if we're going to have a blessed year, there are some things that God has already told us to be engaged in. It don't take a prophetic word for you to apply any of this. You don't even have to go ask God if this is for you. This is for everybody. Look at somebody and tell them, "This is for you."

congregation: This is for you.

Kevin Wallace: I want us to go to Matthew chapter 6 today, and then I want us to look at Ephesians chapter 2. I wondered why there wasn't a whole lot more than what God gave me, but I believe I know why now. Worship was just so powerful today, and the presence of God was moving, and the power of Jesus was moving in this place, and lives were changed, and people were already saved. I want to tell you this right now. We're going to have an opportunity before we leave today for people to come to this altar and meet Christ as Lord. I want to tell you, it don't matter what you've done and how long you've been doing it, Jesus is the best friend every sinner's ever had. You didn't come into this room today, you didn't come in here today, ain't nobody going to just judge you, condemn you, ask you where you've been and what you've been up to. At the end of the day, all of us have had to be delivered from some mess, and today the good news is Jesus will deliver everybody who'll ask him from the midst. Somebody say amen.

congregation: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: That's going to happen today before we leave. If you're in this place and you don't know Christ as Lord and Savior, he's not the Lord of your life, I've already given them instructions, you can't run out of here without meeting Jesus as Lord. You try to get out, the ushers are going to carry you back to the altar. Praise God. I'm kidding.

Kevin Wallace: Okay. I want you to go to Matthew chapter 6 with me right now and I want you to look at verse 5. We're in a series called The Blessing is in the Basics. Today I'm going to talk about prayer, because how many know if you don't have a prayer life, you won't have a blessed life? Look at your neighbor and say, "If you don't have a prayer life-"

congregation: If you don't have a prayer life-

Kevin Wallace: "You won't have a blessed life."

congregation: You won't have a blessed life.

Kevin Wallace: “And when you pray," not if you pray, but when you pray, "You shall not be like the hypocrites." Oh, Lord. "For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets that they may be seen by men. Assuredly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you pray," somebody say, "When you pray."

congregation: When you pray.

Kevin Wallace: "Go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you publicly or openly." Now, how many know you can go through private warfare, but if you ever go through private warfare, you're going to have a public victory? Y'all didn't hear what I just said. I said you might wrestle with a lion and a bear behind the scenes, but when you kill the giant, everybody in the nation's going to know it was God.

Kevin Wallace: "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions." Baby, I think you mentioned this in your opening prayer time this morning. "Do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." How many know that's good news?

Kevin Wallace: " In this manner you ought to pray. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are indebtors against us. Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever."

Kevin Wallace: Ephesians 2. Can you handle some more scripture?

congregation: Yes.

Kevin Wallace: Ephesians 2. Spirit of the living God, I thank you. Somebody said, "Why do you do that? You just talk to God." Because when you feel it, you've got to say thank you. "Well, I didn't feel it." Well, it wasn't you he touched. It was me, so I said thank you. How many ever felt God do something and nobody else felt him doing it, and then you responded and they looked at you like you was crazy? You just have to look at them like, "I know it didn't happen for you, but it just happened for me, so I had to throw my hands up and say thank you, Lord." Anybody know what I'm talking about today? All right, watch this.

Kevin Wallace: Now, look at verse number 18. Let's start with 17. "And Jesus came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who are near." Look at verse 18. I'm going to read a few more after it, but I want you to zero in on this. "For through Jesus we both have access by one Spirit to the Father." I'm getting ready to unpack that thing right there.

Kevin Wallace: Look at verse 19. "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers or foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and the members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple into the Lord, in whom you also are being built together." Somebody say, "Together."

congregation: Together.

Kevin Wallace: If you like coffee, you need to go to the Together Cafe. See, God'll advertise for you right here in Ephesians chapter 2. Can we thank God for the free publicity? Every news channel in Chattanooga has been through that place and given us free air. Y'all, come on. They put it on the front page of the Region in the newspaper, and they just wanted to testify. I love this phrase I heard Cindy, what's her name, Sexton. Cindy Sexton from WRCB said this. "They're not making a profit, but they are making a difference." If you like coffee, come to the Together Cafe. Okay, some of y'all thought I lost the anointing because I did that.

Kevin Wallace: "In whom you're also being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." How many know God doesn't just come to buildings, God comes to a right building when the Spirit is right? I thank God what he's doing here. How many know he's doing something that allows him just to come and dwell in this place?

Kevin Wallace: I want to talk today about prayer, for a few moments about prayer, when you pray. Father, I come to you now in the name of Jesus asking you for the grace to teach and to preach. You've called me to preach, and I said, "Yes, Lord." Now I'm asking you to send the anointing that makes the difference. I thank you for these mighty, mighty men and women of God. Some of them are mightier than they know.

Kevin Wallace: Today, I pray as we discuss the subject of prayer that the platitudes and the truths about prayer, Lord, it wouldn't just be about principles or prayer that we grasp, but it would become that we are pregnant with a spirit of prayer, that we have a praying spirit, that we be a praying people who don't just know about prayer, but we know how to prayer. In the name of the Lord Jesus we pray, everybody said amen.

congregation: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: We're talking about the basics, and that's what I'm going through for the next several weeks, because I do believe your blessing is in the commitment to the basic. I talked to you last week briefly about Matthew's gospel. Jesus is saying in Matthew's gospel, the seventh chapter, that there was a man who built his house upon the sand and a man who built his house upon the rock. The foundation that they built on determined the success, the viability, the efficiency, and the greatness of that house.

Kevin Wallace: If you want to have a successful, great year, how many would agree you have to establish this year on right foundations? Some of us really need to take an inventory and evaluate what we do with our time and what we do with the resource of time. I want you to know that the most valuable resource you have is not money. It's not influence with people. The most valuable resource you have is the resource of time. When you spend it, you can't get it back. When it's gone, it cannot be recovered. You have to make sure that you are investing your time in significant and important ways.

Kevin Wallace: I don't want to drill down on this, and I'm not trying to capture some sort of clip here for media, but really we need to be careful how much time we spend on social media. That's what I thought that was going to happen when I said that. Really we have some time. People say, "I don't have time to pray." I bet you do. I bet it's just that you have other things you wish to use your time for rather than prayer.

Kevin Wallace: I want to say this to you. Prayer will not come automatically. You will have to deny some things and decide some things to pray. If you're going to have a prayer life, you will have to deny some things and decide some things. You will have time to pray, but prayer, it must be made a priority. In fact, some of us if we just woke up 20 minutes earlier, we would have time to pray.

Kevin Wallace: But the reality of it is prayer can be a challenge for people in the church. How many in this room have ever found in challenging to pray? Okay. I'm lifting my hand. There are times in my life prayer has been easy. There are times in my life prayer has been a challenge. I want to make sure you understand as we ease in this today, and we're just talking about right now just laying the right foundation, and I'm not trying to persuade you to get a prayer life. I'm trying to explain why the enemy-

Kevin Wallace: But the flesh is weak. Because when it comes to prayer, it is something that can be a challenge because we find ourselves so distracted, we find ourselves so overcome by the things of this world. Really if you're going to pray, you have to decide to pray, and you have to make decisions on what you're going to prioritize, and then you have to deny some things, because there are some things that will impede on your ... Let me say it like this. There are some people that will impede on your prayer time. Anybody know that to be true?

Kevin Wallace: When it comes to this issue of prayer, it's so much easier to talk about prayer, and preach about prayer, and even shout about the principles of prayer. We have people who have prayer notebooks but don't pray. They know what happens when they pray, and they know why they ought to pray, and they know what they could unlock as they pray, but we just sometimes don't commit to that.

Kevin Wallace: I'm going to tell you, there is a place, in every powerful time of prayer that I go into, there is a place in that time and space of prayer when I have to make a decision. I'm sharing a little bit about my own journey, but I have to make a decision in that moment am I going to bail out on the shallow end of this prayer meeting or am I going to press through and get into the deep place God's calling me to in this time of prayer. Every time I had ever decided, "You know what? That can wait. That can wait. That can wait, but Jesus cannot wait," every time I've made a commitment to stay in that place, heaven has opened up over my life and God has done something very significant in my heart in that time of prayer.

Kevin Wallace: Prayer is challenging and difficult because in many ways Satan hates you praying. Do you understand that when you begin to pray and simply stand on this planet and open up your mouth to the God of heaven, do you understand that you begin to shift, and align, and bring things into the reality of this world that heaven has been looking for someone on Earth to get in agreement with it about? It's why Satan ...

Kevin Wallace: The Bible says in the book of Daniel chapter 10 that when Daniel began to pray on the side of a river, he asked God for the revelation about the end of days and God heard him. This is Daniel 10:12 through 14. God said to Daniel who was praying for the revelation from heaven. He's on Earth asking for a revelation about what God is trying to say to him. The Bible said he prays, and he prays 21 days. Nothing is happening on Earth. On the 21st day, an angel comes and he says to Daniel, "Daniel, first of all, before I tell you what the revelation is, I want you to know something. You've been wore out, you've been stressed out, you've been dealing with this thing, you've been in this 21 day prayer meeting, you've bene having a fit with this, but I'm going to need you to know something. I heard you the first day you prayed." Jesus.

Kevin Wallace: Isn't it good to know that even when nothing is happening on Earth, heaven heard you? Even when it doesn't seem like anything is moving and shifting and there is no immediate response, I just want to tell you, you moved heaven with your prayer. One of Satan's greatest weapons against a prayer life is to convince you that the time you invested in that time of prayer was a waste. The only reason you'll ever think it's a waste is because you think it has to happen then. But I want to tell you, even when you are praying and nothing is happening, something is happening. Come on. Look at your neighbor and tell them, "something happens when you pray."

congregation: Something happens when you pray.

Kevin Wallace: Now, I want to tell you that there are times I have walked into a prayer time, and I have laid on my face, and wept before God, and cried out to God, and come out of that place, and within moments, within moments, God turn a situation, God heal somebody's body, but there have been other things that Deven and I have laid on our face, and we've rolled in the floor, and we've done it for days, and weeks, and months, and nothing is happening. The enemy sits on your shoulder, and he says, "That's a waste. That's a royal waste of time. You're not making anything happen. God don't hear you. You don't have faith."

Kevin Wallace: I'm telling you right now, honey, the next time you start hearing that kind of voice in your mind, put your foot on the head of the devil and tell that lying devil, "I don't know what it's doing. I don't know what's happening, but I refuse to keep my mouth closed, and I refuse to stay in my valley without coming boldly to the throne of grace and finding help in the time of need." We must pray! We must pray.

Kevin Wallace: Daniel said these words. When the angel showed up, he said these words. Listen to this. This is profound. He said to Daniel, "I heard you the first time you prayed, and I sent the answer, but it's been tangled up in the spirit." Read it. God literally heard Daniel on Earth praying, heaven sent the answer, and a demonic spirit called the Prince of Persia, which I don't have time to go into that, the Prince of Persia which was a demon spirit intercepted the answer on its way back to Earth. Why did the answer finally get there? The angel tells Daniel, "Because of your words."

Kevin Wallace: Have you ever asked God for help and didn't feel like it came, and then some time later it came? You wonder, what took it so long? Well, the enemy didn't want you to get the answer, but the reason it finally got there is because you refused to stop believing.

Kevin Wallace: Some of us have got the opinion if I ask once and it don't happen, it ain't mine. I'm telling you, that devil is a liar. If God ever gives you a promise and you ever start believing something belongs to you and you pray and you don't get it, it doesn't mean it's not yours. It means the enemy don't want you to have it. You know what? I just don't give a flying rip what the devil wants me to have. Jesus is the one that died to give it to me, and I think I'm just going to walk in my sonship. I know I don't deserve it, but I think I'll praise him every time he answers a prayer. He's a prayer answering God.

Kevin Wallace: Prayer is not always easy because there are eternal heavy things that are on the other side of your prayers and Satan knows it, which is why he tries to keep you from doing it. He said to Daniel, "I heard you the first time you prayed. I sent it, but the Prince of Persia tangled it up, but we overcame it." Hallelujah. I don't even have time.

Kevin Wallace: There's something powerful about prayer. If you're struggling with prayer, it doesn't mean you're not saved. If prayer is ever difficult for you, it doesn't mean you don't love Jesus. If prayer is ever challenging, it doesn't mean you're not spiritual. Here's what it means. It means you have to keep pressing into it till you learn the power of it. I'm going to tell you this, there'll come a point ...

Kevin Wallace: If prayer is always a chore for you, you're not doing it right. If prayer's always a hassle and, "Where are you going?" "Pray," you're not doing it right. You're not doing it right. Anybody in here got people you enjoy talking to? Some of you thought I was going to say don't enjoy talking to. No. How many in here got people in your life you love talking to? Okay, that's what prayer is supposed to be like with you and God.

Kevin Wallace: Now, I'm not telling you that you can't get into a place of prayer sometimes where there's war going on and you've got to militantly pray in the Spirit, you've got to cast down, pull down, bind up, loose. Come on. How many know what I'm talking about? But there is a place where you can get to in prayer where prayer becomes a privilege and a pleasure, where it's not about how loud or how long. Now, there are times when I go into prayer it's just a talk, me and God. There are other days I go into prayer and it's war. They have to walk down the hallways of the office and I'm hollering, my music is going, and everybody's like, "What in the world is going on in there?" That's just the way we have it today, amen? All right.

Kevin Wallace: You have to understand that when you commit to a prayer life at the beginning of the year and lay that foundation, it paves the way for blessing. If you want to have a blessed life, you've got to have a prayer life. I want to go through this very quickly. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus did not say if you pray. He said-

congregation: When you pray.

Kevin Wallace: Come on. When you pray. Couple of things we need to remember and we need to be aware of about prayer life that Jesus teaches us here and I think it's very important. Number one, when you pray, he says, "Do not pray like the hypocrites," which means that hypocrites actually do pray. Not everybody praying is right with God.

Kevin Wallace: What Jesus is trying to get to here is the motive of why you pray. Are you trying to pray because you want people to look at you and think, "My God, she an pray. Goodness gracious, he can pray"? If your motive to pray, your motive is to be heard by men and to be seen by men and not to be heard or seen by God, then God says, watch this, Jesus says this, Jesus said, "When those kind of people pray for impure motives and they do spiritual things so that people will see them," Jesus says this and I think it's fantastic, he said, "They have their reward."

Kevin Wallace: What is the reward for a person whose prayer life is wrapped up around people and being seen? You ready for this? Their reward is the applaud of men. There are people who actually come to church and do spiritual things because they want to be approved and applauded by people. I am telling you that if you don't get anything else out of this message today, I want you to go back to being a person of prayer not because people see you and say, "Wow, they're amazing people of prayer." No. I want you to go back to being a person of prayer because God says if you're a person, a man or a woman of prayer who understands that it's about me and you, I'm going to have a reward unlocked over your life.

Kevin Wallace: It may never receive the applaud of the approval of man, but I'd rather be known in heaven and hated by hell than to have a big following on a social media platform. Okay, I can't go there, Jesus. Sorry. I'd rather be known by heaven and hated by hell than to be so interested in my presentation and the approval and applause of people.

Kevin Wallace: Some of us in this room today, we need to get back to praying because God is watching and God is listening. Now, you think this is a rather mundane point. "Pastor, there's nothing deep about this." It would blow your mind how much activity would cease in the church if we asked people to stop doing it unless they were doing it unto the Lord.

Kevin Wallace: Number one, don't be like the hypocrites. "Well, I don't want to." Someone is wanting your live stream right now. They may even people in the building who are just testing us out today. You may say something like this, "I don't go to church." Why? Somebody might ask you why. You say, "Because hypocrites go to church." I ask you, do you want to go to church with hypocrites or to hell with hypocrites? Well, welcome to Redemption to the Nations. It's Sunday morning, hallelujah. Do you want to go to church with a hypocrite? I'd rather go to church with a hypocrite than to hell with a hypocrite. They might be fake, but not everybody in here is fake. There may be weirdos and there may be charlatans, but not every preacher's a charlatan.

Kevin Wallace: I want to tell you right now, you better get over your excuses and fall back in love with Jesus. Stop living so horizontally. I feel like hauling off and preaching right here. This thing ain't about you and them. It's about you and him. Get back to Jesus. He's the center of it all, and he is the center of your joy. Say amen, church!

congregation: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: Sorry. This thing of blaming people in the church for doing stupid things, they've been doing dumb things in the church since Jesus got on a cloud and went back to heaven. There is no excuse in the church for you not to be a part of it. I'm telling you right now, Jesus died for the church, bled for the church, rose again for the church. If you're going to heaven, you're not going to heaven because you're an island unto yourself. You're going to heaven because you are fitly build together to be a temple of God where God dwells. I feel him in this building right now.

Kevin Wallace: That isn't even in my notes. Somebody needs to hear me at the first of the year. Church can't be optional. I'm going to say it again, because I feel that person in here pushing back. You have to understand who you're dealing with. When I feel it, I come back for it one more time. Hallelujah. Church can't be optional. "Well, I don't like people in churches." Well, you're going to heaven with them. "Well, you know, they're just different." Well, you are too.

Kevin Wallace: The beautiful thing about the body of Christ, it's a great place to hide the fallacies and the failures of life. We're not a bunch of perfect people walking around speaking on tongues. "I bet if I come to your house, Brother Wallace, angels are floating around in yourself living room, and you and Deven speak in tongues to each other." Oh, no, honey. You come in my house, you're going to hear some tongues all right, hallelujah.

Kevin Wallace: I'm telling you right now, nobody in here's perfect. Nobody in here's got it all together. If they're sitting out there acting like, your neighbors like they got it all, they don't have it all together. We're here because of the blood of Jesus. We're here because of the mercy of God. We're here because on our worst day he's still a good God. If you want to know how to find life, quit sitting at home telling yourself everybody in church is a hypocrite. The devil is a lair. There is a righteous remnant on this planet walking the breadth and width of this Earth in the power of the Spirit of God. Hallelujah!

Kevin Wallace: I feel like I fixed a few things. You can't keep that attitude. You can't stay all offended and come to church twice a year and be who God called you to be. "Well, I'm busy." Well, stop, because you were not created to live on this planet as a busy businessman who never has time for the things of God or the kingdom of God, or a businesswoman who never has time. You'll lose it all. You may gain this world but lose your soul. What is it worth? Make a commitment to the house of God.

Kevin Wallace: Okay, that wasn't even in my sermon. Here we go. Don't be like the hypocrites. Where did that come from? The hypocrites, that's where. Them hypocrites always get a preacher on another tangent. Don't be like the hypocrites who pray and do spiritual things to be seen. This isn't about me and you. This is about you and him.

Kevin Wallace: The next thing he says ... They do it to be seen. Go to the next verse, verse 6 please. "When you pray, go into your room." Now, here's what I want to teach you. I believe everybody ought to have a place of prayer. Now, I also believe you can pray in all places at all times.

Kevin Wallace: Young people, teenagers, they never take prayer out of school. If they took you out of school, then you might have prayer taken out of school, but as long as you're in the school, there ought to be prayer in school. Isn't it funny how the enemy wants you to think everything's gone to hell in a hand basket. They took prayer out of school. No, they didn't take prayer out of school. In fact, I think they woke up a giant. You get the right kind of teenager and they find out who God is, they're not afraid of anything. They'll stand up on a lunchroom lunch table and turn the whole cafeteria into a big preaching. Hallelujah. I feel the Lord in this place right now. I feel like I could run through a troop and jump over a wall. Hallelujah.

Kevin Wallace: He said find a place of prayer. Now, I have a place of prayer at my house and I have a place of prayer at my office. I'm going to tell you why I have a place of prayer, because it calls to me. Every time I pass my office in my house, you walk in my house to the right, there are two doors. Deven knows it. There are four chairs and a fireplace in my office. I've got one chair I sit on every time I wake up. What's that?

Deven: It's mine too.

Kevin Wallace: It's yours too, hallelujah. Honey, you can have anything I've got. Praise the Lord. Share it all. Every time I walk by that place, every time I walk by that place, it calls me. It reminds me. I found God in that room and he found me.

Kevin Wallace: There are times I go in that room and every time I go in, it's got two doors, and I just shut the doors behind me. We've got this thing in our house, it bothers me. It's this particular thing in my house in that one room. We have a speaker in the ceiling in every room of the house. That morning, I was just in a normal prayer time, and something happened I didn't do. I didn't know if it was God, or the enemy, or what, but the music started blaring. Scared the living daylights out of me. 6:00 AM in the morning and it was right here, and it was, "Lord, I give you my heart." "Jesus, wonderful Jesus," and we're praising God, and all of a sudden it went, "Lord, I give you my."

Kevin Wallace: I had the people come out and look at it. I said, "That can't happen anymore." They said, "You know what? Something is wrong with the modulator in your thing, and it just decides when it wants to get loud, to get loud. Then it'll go down, and then it'll go up." I said, "We have to fix that." He said, "I don't know how to fix it. I don't know if we can fix that or not. We can disable it." I said, "You can't disable my music. I have to have my music."

Kevin Wallace: I got my AirPods now. I got my AirPods now and I can holler and listen to music and Gaithers as loud as I want to and nobody has to wake up anymore. Judah waking up, "Daddy's music is going off again. Daddy, it's so loud!" I got it all shut off and now I've got my AirPods. I go into my secret place, and I just spent time with the Father. You have to have a place.

Kevin Wallace: How many got a man cave? Anybody got like a place you watch football, men? Y'all are liars. "I don't watch football." You're lying. How many NASCAR, whatever it is, NBA, you've got a favorite place? I think places are important.

Kevin Wallace: Some of you would get more routine with prayer if you had a place of prayer, because if you just think prayer is something that you just do in your kitchen ... and I do pray in the kitchen, but that's not my time of prayer. My time of prayer is when nothing else is going on, and I'm involved with nothing else, and it's just me and God in that place.

Kevin Wallace: Jesus says when you go into that place, shut the door behind you. This is as important as prayer itself. If you don't know how to shut the door, stuff will follow you in there. Oh, my goodness. Have many have ever tried to go pray and stuff just start interfering with your prayer day? You're like, "I just came to pray." It seemed like when you decided to pray, everything started becoming urgent. Y'all don't have those days, do you?

Kevin Wallace: I'm telling you right now, and I'm going to encourage you. Some of you are going to push back on this, but hear it from a person of experience. I do not like to take my phone into prayer. If I do, I put it on airplane mode. I'm going to tell you why. Because something will be considered very important, and I really, really, really ... Minus just a few things on this Earth, there isn't much more important thing to do than to get alone with the Father in a place of prayer, shut the world out, tell the devil no, and spend some time in the presence of the one who loves you.

Kevin Wallace: He said, "I want you to have a place," and then he says, "Shut the door." Then I want you to see this. This is a principle. I've taught this before and I'm not going to spend much time on it here, but you do need to understand something. There is a reward for a person with a prayer life.

Kevin Wallace: You better be careful who you hate on and how much blessing they walk in, because people who walk in great reward and people who made great decisions and denied great things so that they could spend time with the Father. Anytime you see God blessing someone publicly, don't you ever think that it started in public. It started somewhere in a very private, intimate, secret place.

Kevin Wallace: I want you to know that before David was ever crowned king because he kill Goliath, he took care of a bear and a lion outside of the shepherd sheep field. When you do those kinds of things in private and are when nobody's looking ... I've said it like this for years and I keep on saying it. If you want to do what everybody wants to do while everybody's looking, you've got to first enjoy doing what nobody wants to do while nobody's looking. That was loaded right there.

Kevin Wallace: There's a lot of people who say, "Ministry, ministry, ministry, CEO, president, big shot. We want to be that. We want to do that." Before you can do what everybody wants to do while everybody's looking, you've got to first embrace doing what nobody wants to do when nobody's looking. Everybody wants to kill Goliath. Nobody wants to kill the lion and the bear messing with the sheep. But the reason God can trust you to kill a giant and be crowned a king is because he trusted you to take care of the sheep when no one's looking. I don't have time to go into that, but if you're ever going to be successful in ministry and as a pastor or a leader, shepherds smell like sheep.

Kevin Wallace: I'll move on. We'll talk about that some Ruach or something, okay. "The Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." Next verse, please. I'm trying to get to this and I'm going to be done. "When you pray, don't use vain repetitions." Oh, my goodness.

Kevin Wallace: I think this is said to liberate us. I think this scripture was actually said to liberate us from the pressure of feeling like we have to find a mantra, the right combination of words. Actually, what Jesus was talking about here is the hypocrites actually followed oriental custom. They followed oriental custom and they chanted. In the Orient, they would chant and they would summon all of the false gods through their chanting. Now, Jesus says to his listeners here, "You don't have to work yourself up and chant your way into an answer." He says, "In fact, you don't even have to go waste a bunch of time trying to inform God about your problem, because he actually knows what you need before you approach him."

Kevin Wallace: Think of that. How much time do we waste trying to explain to God the difficulty of all that we're dealing with and God actually knew it before we came to him? In other words, what Jesus says, "Let's get to it. I don't want to waste your time and you're not going to waste my time. Let's just get to it. I know what you need before you even open your mouth."

Kevin Wallace: How many of you have kids in here? How many claim your kids that you have? Okay, that's a better way to ask it I suppose. I won't say which one of my kids, but there have been times in our life where they broke something. I know because we have video cameras in the house who did it. Everybody's like, "We don't have a clue."

Kevin Wallace: I remember Judah, I think ... Is she in here? She's probably in here somewhere. I love you, baby girl. It was Isaiah. He loved ornaments on a tree. Was it-

Deven: The one that broke the Christmas-

Kevin Wallace: Yeah. I was going to tell the story. You want to tell it?

Deven: No, no.

Kevin Wallace: No. Was it Isaiah?

Deven: I don't remember who it was.

Kevin Wallace: It was Isaiah. Are you in here, Isaiah? Where are you at? Okay. I love you, son. This is just a little stuff here we're dealing with, okay? We're just working through this.

Kevin Wallace: You know me. I love Christmas, and we have a number of Christmas trees. One Christmas tree has Disney ornaments on it, and they're all from different years, and they're all special. Isaiah when he was a little guy, he was infatuated with ornaments on a tree and would just go up and start handling them. We had to tell him, "Don't touch the ornament. If you touch the ornament, I will send you to another family. Don't touch the ornament. You're not going to eat. Okay, just don't." He would touch the ornament.

Kevin Wallace: Then one time, he touches the ornament, takes it off the tree, is handling the forbidden ornament, and he drops it and it crashes to the ground. I hear it go, "Pth." I walked in there, and I looked at Isaiah. I said, "Son, you know the rules. What did you touch the ornament for?" He said, "You're not going to believe this, dad." Four years old. "You're not going to believe this, dad. The devil made me do it." That's a true story. True story. "The devil made me do it," right.

Kevin Wallace: Listen. I knew when I heard the sound what had happened. I wasn't expecting him to blame it on the devil. I was just needing a confession. I needed a confession that, "I messed this up," but I already knew. Before he ever told me what happened, I already knew what happened.

Kevin Wallace: Some of you, listen, when you make a mess, don't run from prayer, because the only one that can clean up the broken pieces of the ornament you dropped is the one waiting on you to come to the place of prayer and just confess it. He knows what you need before you ever come to him to ask him for it.

Kevin Wallace: Here's the good news. He's the one that knew you were going to break the ornament, he's the one that has the power to put it back together, and he's the one that loves you enough to call you when you messed up anyway. Isn't he wonderful? Isn't Jesus just so good?

Kevin Wallace: Now, I want to end with this. I want you to go to that Ephesians 2:9 passage. Brian, if you'll help me, I'm going to transition here. 2:9, Ephesians 2:9. I want to give you this. I know this is real basic stuff today, and I'm not attempting to go deep, and I'm not trying to haul off and preach today. I want you to lay a foundation of prayer in your life. Don't think you've got to impress people with your words and how loud you are. There are times I'm quiet. There are times I'm hollering.

Kevin Wallace: Listen, the times I holler in prayer, don't holler, I lift my voice in prayer, the times I lift my voice in prayer, it's not because God is deaf. It's because I'm desperate. God doesn't have a hearing problem. It's not like I'm going to get louder hoping he'll hear me. He hears me whether I whisper or whether I cry out, but when I am in desperate need of him, I often pour my soul out and it comes out in a higher volume.

Kevin Wallace: We're not in a competition to see who's most spiritual. Number one, we don't pray like the hypocrites. Number two, when we pray, we get in our secret place. Number three, when we go into our secret place, we shut the door. When we go into our secret place, and we shut the door, and we spend time with God, what happened in private translates to public grace and victory.

Kevin Wallace: If you hate prayer, you're doing it wrong. If prayer's always hard, you're doing it wrong. I want to just submit this last thing to you. No, no. That's not it. It's 19. I'm sorry, it's 19. I said 9. I should have known that. Back up to 18. I promise you it's in there. There it is. Yes, that's it. "For through Jesus we both," say, "We both."

congregation: We both.

Kevin Wallace: Now, Paul is here talking about the Jew and the Gentile. I don't have time to go into the depth of the revelation here that Paul is putting forth, but essentially what he is saying is there's no superiority. Jews don't get closer to God because they're Jewish, and Gentiles don't get further away from God because they're Gentiles. Both of us, both Jew and Gentile, have access to God.

Kevin Wallace: Prayer should never be reduced down to a formula or some equation, but I do think it is important to understand the theological underpinning of prayer, because I have been asked as a pastor, "Do I pray to God? Do I pray to Jesus? Do I pray to the Father? Do I pray to the Holy Spirit? Who do I pray to?" Jesus teaches us something. In Matthew chapter 6. Jesus says, "When you pray." Actually, he said, yes, "When you pray, pray it like this." He's not saying this prayer is a magical formula.

Kevin Wallace: I know that football teams kneel down. Isn't it great, football teams? I was on a football team in Holy Spirit. We grew up, we all prayed the sinner's prayer. Nobody was saved I don't think on the football team, but everybody's praying the Lord's prayer. We're doing the whole thing, "Our Father which," as if it were some sort of magic formula. "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come." We're hollering, and cussing, and slapping people. Nevermind. It was great. It was great.

Kevin Wallace: The Lord's prayer as it has become called is really not a mantra. It's a model. The prayer is not a formula that is guaranteed to work, because I've known people who've prayed two or three word prayers and moved heaven. The thief on the cross said a very simple, "Remember me." It's not about how many words you say and how long you stay there. The beautiful thing about prayer is when you stop worrying about how long you're there, you stay longer. Nevermind.

Kevin Wallace: He says, watch this, "Our Father." Not my Father, our Father. Why is that important? Because you must always understand your prayer life in context with the body. Why is that important? Because there are people in this church and in other church who would actually use prayer time to approach God, asking God to take his revenge out on other people in the kingdom of God. God says, "No, no, no. When you come to me, you don't get to pray my Father." Remember, he's all of our daddy.

Kevin Wallace: "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name." Now, here's the point. The point of this scripture, and I want you to see this today, I believe you can talk to Jesus. I don't think there's anything wrong with you talking to Jesus. I don't think there's anything wrong with you talking to the Holy Spirit. There have been times I say, "Spirit of God, help me. Give me wisdom here." There have been times I say, "Lord Jesus, I love you." I do that every day. But I want you to understand why prayer works. It's actually legal. It's legal.

Kevin Wallace: It's not just, "Okay, God's listening." No. You and I were separated by sin from God, so Jesus came as a mediator between God and man, and he paid the price so that we could have access to God, access to God for salvation and access to God thereafter. Every time you come to God to talk to God, I believe you are coming, watch, to the Father by the Son, through the Son. Pardon me. Through the Son by the Spirit.

Kevin Wallace: Jesus never prayed to himself and he never prayed to the Holy Spirit. In fact, there's just a couple of times in scriptures where Jesus was ever prayed to. One of them is the thief on the cross. When we pray, we are talking transactionally and legally. We are claiming promises. This is a whole other message. Claiming promises for ourself that are legally ours because we come to God the Father. Jesus said, "When you pray, pray like this. Our Father." He's talking to the Father. Now we have through Jesus access to the Father, and we come by the Holy Spirit and we make our petition known.

Kevin Wallace: If you want to get real legal and technical, you don't have to be legal and technical, if you talk to God, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, to me it doesn't matter who you're talking to, but if you want to get technical and legal, you must understand something. You have access to the Father who has everything. The reason you have access to the Father is because the Son, Jesus, has allowed you to come to the Father through his blood.

Kevin Wallace: What my point is, according to Hebrews chapter 4:14, you actually get to come boldly to the throne of grace. You do not come tip-toeing, and walking on eggshells, and, "Oh, my God, do you know what I did yesterday?" He knows! Yet, he says, "Come to me. Come to me. When you sin, come to me. Don't run from me. Come to me when you fall, when you make a mess of it, when you do something really dumb, when you just get all your ducks out of a row and you think, I've got to wait a couple of days, and I've got to get more religious before I come back to God." God says, "No, don't do that." He says, "Come to me just like you are." You come through the blood of Jesus Christ by the person of the Holy Spirit and you wind up standing in the very throne room of God.

Kevin Wallace: You say, "Pastor, I have no legal right to be here. I failed." Jesus says, "Yes, you did, but-"

Kevin Wallace: On your worst day, if you have faith in Christ, your righteousness is ... Listen. On your best day, your righteousness is as filthy rags, but on your worst day, if your faith is in Christ, you are still covered in the blood. When you come into the throne room of grace, you are able to get help from God and come boldly. It doesn't mean you come arrogantly. It doesn't mean you come haughty. It doesn't mean that if you sinned, you prance in like there's no responsibility and no weight of sin on your heart, but what it does mean is you do not let the enemy whisper in your ear and tell you, you cannot be heard in heaven, because heaven does not hear you based on your own merit. Heaven hears you because you're washed in the blood of the Lamb and the Spirit of God is within you.

Kevin Wallace: Paul says in the book of Romans we have not received a spirit of bondage and of fear, but the Spirit of God has enabled us to open up our mouth and cry, "Abba! Abba Father!"

Kevin Wallace: There is a legal reason why God hears you when you pray. Jesus has paid the price. When you come into the presence of the Father, you make your petition known. You don't say, "I don't know." You're his child.

Kevin Wallace: I took the boys to see a movie last night. Took the girls to see a movie. I don't ever get to see two movies in one Saturday. Most the time on Saturday, I'm rolling around in the floor, "Oh, I need a sermon. Jesus, give me a sermon. Give me the word for tomorrow. I already had the word." I said, "We're going to go see," what was the movie? The dog movie? It was a train wreck. Jesus, I cried like a baby. Oh, my God. Then I went and took the boys to see Bumblebee. Bumblebee.

Kevin Wallace: We go up to the popcorn line. You know, somebody ought to be thrown in jail for how much movie places charge for popcorn. It's unbelievable. I could buy 12 boxes of popcorn for that. But we go up to the line. We go up to the line to get some popcorn and some water, because we're healthy. "Do you want extra butter?" Yes, and give me water too, because I'm going to be healthy and bad all at the same time."

Kevin Wallace: We go up, and little Zion, she breaks out her purse. "Daddy, I have some cash. I can pay for this." "Put your money away, baby. You're with daddy. When you go to the movies with daddy, daddy buys the popcorn." Then she saw how much it was. She said, "Get the popcorn, daddy. Get the popcorn. You can get the popcorn if you want to get the popcorn. You want some popcorn? My dad's getting popcorn. You want some?"

Kevin Wallace: Then we go to the Bumblebee movie at night, little Jeremiah and little Isaiah. Jeremiah's been working at Chick-fil-A. Jesus knows, Chick-fil-A, yes. He breaks out his wallet. "Daddy, I'll get my own ..." what are those things we got? Sour-

congregation: Sour Patch Kids.

Kevin Wallace: Sour Patches, Sour Patches. "I'll get my own Sour Patches. I'll get my own drink. We're working now. We're going to spend our money, daddy. I'm going to show you I can do this." I said, "Baby, put your money up. You're with daddy. I'm going to pay for it." He saw how much the Sour Patches was. He said, "Get the Sour Patches, daddy. You go ahead. If you want to do that for me, you go ahead and get the Sour Patches."

Kevin Wallace: How many know it's really good just to spend some time with daddy? He'll take care of the popcorn. He'll take care of the Sour Patches. I feel the Lord on me right here. He'll take care of the healing of the body. He'll take care of peace in the house. He'll take care of the financial provision you've been waiting on. Just spend some time with daddy. Just spend some time with daddy.

Kevin Wallace: Jeremiah, I could tell stories all day. Two nights ago, he leaves his Jeep parked out in the driveway. Nobody can get into the garage. I couldn't get out. I said, "I'm taking the Jeep." I took the Jeep down to Walgreens running on empty. What did I do? Pulled it right into the gas station, filled it up. Yesterday, he comes in the house, "Mama, somebody filled my gas tank up with gas," as if an angel did it or something. You know what happened last night? I come home, guess where the Jeep was? In the parking lot, right there in the middle. I thought, "Oh, I see what he's doing now."

Kevin Wallace: Here's the point. Just spend some time with daddy. Spend some time with the Father. "Well, I don't know how long I'm going to pray." It don't really matter. Every moment is bliss. When you get to come in, you don't have to worry about your resume and if you deserve to be there. The question is, do you trust Jesus as Lord? If you do, you come to the Father through the Son, I feel him right now, by the Holy Spirit.

Kevin Wallace: If you get into a place of prayer and you feel like, "What do I say?" let me help you here. Just relax. The Holy Ghost will actually perfect your prayers for you. By the time they get to the Father, he'll have it all cleaned up. The greatest statement for me out of the Signs and Wonders Conference was one by my friend Alexander Pagani. He said these words, "God knows what you meant to say." Isn't that wonderful? God knows. Now, words are important and you have a responsibility to use them wisely. But when you're praying and you feel like, "I just don't know what to say," and you feel like maybe it's coming out wrong, God knows what you meant to say. Stand with me.